Every year TIME Magazine pays tribute to the innovators, pioneers, thought leaders and creatives who have pushed culture forward by way of their TIME100 Most Influential People list. Over the years, the publication has celebrated the likes of dignitaries, politicians, entertainers and even educators who have inspired us to change the way we live, view the world and treat one another. This year, TIME has shown love to a few of our favs and, as is their protocol, allowed some of their peers to take over the job of giving them their roses. Among the honorees are fashion designer Aurora James, visionary writer and creator Shonda Rhimes, actress and style icon Tracee Ellis Ross, social and political leader Stacey Abrams, the ladies of Red Table Talk, The 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones and Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Allyson Felix. Each trailblazer has been immortalized in this issue by other heavy-hitters in their own respect.
About Aurora James, the designer of AOC’s “Tax The Rich” MET Gala dress, British VOGUE editor-in-chief Edward Enniful had this to say, “When I think of the designer Aurora James...I see a woman who has not only shifted the culture in fashion but also rethought its economic power structures. These past two years have been a time of great upheaval for our industry, and have brought immense pain for the Black community. Yet James—a gifted designer and passionate activist—has risen up to take major retailers to task with her 15 Percent Pledge initiative, asking them to finally reflect the makeup of the U.S. population by stocking products from a proportionate number of Black-owned businesses on their shelves.”
TIME chose actress and comedian, Tiffany Haddish, to pay tribute to Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris (aka Gammy) who make up Red Table Talk. The show has become somewhat of a saving grace during hard times for all of us and the actress spoke glowingly about Jada, her mother and her daughter “…Those communication skills—the way she can connect with people so genuinely—are on full display on Red Table Talk, the Facebook Watch talk show that Jada hosts with Willow and her mom Adrienne, a.k.a. Gammy. Willow and Gammy each brings something unique. Willow: she’s the voice of today, and not afraid to speak. She checked me once for judging people who chew their nails, and I respected that. Gammy: she’s old-school, but open to change. When I went on the show, it was the first time I met her, and I felt like we were born at different times but at the same vibration.
Allyson Felix received her love from former figure skater and Olympic gold medalist, Michelle Kwan. "She’s thoughtful, generous and knows she has the responsibility of being a role model for girls and boys who look up to her," she wrote. "I think Allyson sets an extraordinary example as a mother, as a woman and as an athlete. She has already paved the way in so many areas, including fighting for new maternity policies that will help the next generation of mothers and athletes. That will have a ripple effect that goes on forever."
The magazine has subsequently released several covers including one covered by Simone Biles, who is profiled by Serena Williams. "What she embodies truly reflects the endless potential of Black women," Williams says about Biles. "I wish I had her to look up to when I was younger and trying to realize my dreams."
We cannot wait to get our hands on a copy of this prolific issue of TIME.